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Donated not Wasted: Lee County’s 3rd annual food-rescue campaign begins as seasonal residents head north

Donations accepted March 22 through April 5
 Lee County
Posted at 6:14 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 18:14:13-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Lee County Solid Waste’s third annual “Donated not Wasted” food rescue campaign encourages seasonal residents and visitors to donate unopened pantry items before returning north. The two previous campaigns resulted in 6,000 pounds of food diverted from potential disposal – enough to provide 5,000 meals to hungry people.

Nationwide, Americans throw out 30 to 40 percent of the available food supply. In Lee County, food waste accounts for 13 percent, or 70,000 tons, of the local waste stream, according to a 2016 audit.

Since the onset of COVID-19, the need for food has increased dramatically. “Last year we distributed 32.4 million pounds of food,” said Meg Madzar, food drive coordinator for Harry Chapin Food Bank. “Now, we are distributing nearly 1 million pounds a week and feeding a quarter of a million people a month.”

People can drop off unopened canned or dry goods from Monday, March 22, through April 5, at libraries or Lee County Parks & Recreation centers. Additional collection containers are located at the Parks & Recreation’s Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve and at Lee County Solid Waste’s Topaz Court Household Chemical Waste Facility.

Partners in the Donated not Wasted campaign include:

· Harry Chapin Food Bank

· Lee County Government: Solid Waste, Parks & Recreation and the Library System

· City of Sanibel’s library and Town of Fort Myers Beach’s library

· Waste Pro

· FOX4

For more information, visit, or call 239-533-8000.

Drop off locations

Recreation centers
Estero Recreation Center
9200 Corkscrew Palms Blvd., Estero

North Fort Myers Recreation Center
2000 North Recreation Pkwy., North Fort Myers

Veterans Park Recreation Center
55 Homestead Road S, Lehigh Acres

Wa-Ke Hatchee Recreation Center
16760 Bass Rd., Fort Myers

Library locations
Bonita Springs Public Library
10560 Reynolds St., Bonita Springs

Cape Coral-Lee County Public Library
921 S.W. 39th Ter., Cape Coral

Captiva Memorial Library
11560 Chapin Ln., Captiva

Dunbar Jupiter Hammon Public Library
3095 Blount St., Fort Myers

East County Regional Library
881 Gunnery Rd., Lehigh Acres

Fort Myers Regional Library
2450 First St., Fort Myers

Fort Myers Beach Public Library
2755 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach

Johann Fust Community Library
1040 W. 10th St., Boca Grande

Lakes Regional Library
15290 Bass Road, Fort Myers

North Fort Myers Public Library
2001 N. Tamiami Tr. N, North Fort Myers

Northwest Regional Library
519 Chiquita Blvd. N, Cape Coral

Pine Island Public Library
10701 Russell Rd., Bokeelia

Riverdale Branch Library
2421 Buckingham Rd., Fort Myers

Sanibel Public Library
770 Dunlop Rd., Sanibel

South County Regional Library
21100 Three Oaks Pkwy., Estero

Additional sites
Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
7751 Penzance Blvd., Fort Myers

Topaz Court Solid Waste Annex
6441 Topaz Ct., Fort Myers